We’ve heard rumblings this week that there is an increasing riff between the Mariners front office and the coaching staff, including manager Don Wakamatsu. This came up when Chone Figgins was openly defiant of Wakamatsu in the dugout the other day yet wasn’t disciplined in any way. Geoff Baker reports today, however, that the problems go all the way back to this past offseason.
Baker reports that the Mariners’ coaching staff begging for more offense, but that in their eyes “the front office did zero to make the offense better.” Adrian Beltre was allowed to walk without an offer. Figgins came in but, because of other holes, was moved to second base. No one had any confidence in the Milton Bradley or Casey Kotchman trades. They viewed the Mike
Sweeney signing as a sign of desperation. Baker also writes that “they knew Ken Griffey Jr. was done like an overcooked
Thanksgiving turkey.” A
Finally, and most damningly for front office/dugout relations, Baker writes that Wakamatsu and company were dumbfounded when, after the team got off to such a slow start, Jack Z fired hitting coach Alan Cockrell. It was the roster’s fault, the staff believed. Not Cockrell’s.
It’s striking, isn’t it, that despite all the hype surrounding the Mariners’ offseason moves — and remember back to January-March; there was a ton of hype — those moves not only proved to be poor ones in large part, but have served to create no small amount of in-house friction in Seattle.
Runnin’ a baseball team: it ain’t an easy business.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.